A Dec. 17 letter writer pointed to supposed hypocrisy by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer in calling for a Senate trial with "all the facts considered fully and fairly" and claimed House Democrats voted to impeach President Donald Trump without sufficient evidence because witnesses were only those approved by Democratic committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff ("It will stain Trump's legacy for good"). Wow.
That ignores that Trump himself directed multiple witnesses to ignore House subpoenas, which is sufficient evidence for the first article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress.
Multitudes of witnesses attested that Trump inappropriately abused his power for political gain. They provided more than enough evidence to support article two, abuse of power. No sideshow witnesses could change that.
The evidence Trump is hiding, from the witnesses he directed not to testify to the contents of the full transcript of his conversation with the Ukrainian president, which was locked down, will most likely be further evidence to support impeachment. The Senate trial should consider, as Democratic Senate Minority Leader Schumer says, all the facts.
Paul Rozycki, Minneapolis
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One point many journalists, pundits and, most recently, legal scholars continue to make is the inaccuracy that Trump "attempted to meddle in the 2020 election by coercing a foreign government to investigate his most likely opponent, Joe Biden" ("Local legal scholars write on impeachment," Opinion Exchange, Dec. 17). This is not quite true. In fact, the evidence overwhelmingly shows Trump coerced Ukraine only to announce it would investigate Biden. Trump did not care whether the country actually did; he only wanted that fact as a 2020 campaign talking point.
It is a huge distinction especially given the fact that Trump's apologists defend his actions because they claim he was actually concerned about corruption in Ukraine, which he was not — just as he is not concerned about corruption in, say, Russia, China or North Korea.
Douglas Johnson, Minnetonka
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I had a thought for Reps. Angie Craig, Dean Phillips and the other Democrats who are being forced to vote to impeach: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Adam Schiff and Rep. Jerry Nadler know the Democrats can't win the election next year! So, they are protecting their own skin by doing this. They are doing what the hard left and other factions want, and it is no skin off their backs. They are in safe districts and will still have their jobs for years to come.
In other words, Craig and Phillips, you have been thrown under the bus! How will that feel next election?
Pete goehring, Mound, Minn.
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Responding to the letter "It will stain Trump's legacy for good," I take issue with the statement that "any first-year law student" could answer a question relating to impeachment. In my opinion, a first-year law student (I was one) would first research the issue, including Article I, Section 2 and Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution and read the article "Local legal scholars write on impeachment," which covers the current impeachment. Specifically: "The evidence is overwhelming and largely undisputed," "In the present case, we believe impeachment is not only warranted but essential," and "Our country deserves this process. Our democracy requires it."
Richard C. Johnson, Edina
Reward Minnesota farmers for climate-friendly soil management
Kudos to our Minnesota farmers for their stewardship of the land ("Ground-cover crops grow as soil solution," Dec. 17). There are many benefits for their care of the land. Using cover crops and Not tilling the soil will enhance the land's ability to manage rain that is falling at record annual amounts. Also, this technique adds more organic material to the land which improves soil health, value and yields. This type of land management is also making these farmers climate heroes by sequestering carbon in significant amounts.
At the 2018 Nobel Conference on soils at Gustavus Adolphus College, we learned that U.S. soils have a huge potential to store carbon — 288 million megatons of carbon per year, according to some estimates. This would be a huge step toward mitigating climate change. Farmers in the U.S. who sequester carbon should be rewarded for their efforts and receive an annual payment of up to $16 per acre. California farmers are already receiving grant money from the state to sequester carbon.
Minnesota currently has a budget surplus of over $1 billion. Gov. Tim Walz and our legislators could use this money wisely by helping our farmers benefit our land and the planet. This would be a win for all Minnesotans, and it's time we reward our farmers for their hard work and stewardship.
Mike Menzel, Edina
Ditch the double standard for bias
Former President Barack Obama recently said that most of the world's problems were due to "old men not getting out of the way" and that women were "indisputably ... better" leaders than their male counterparts. The current state of hyper-political-correctness is admittedly confusing to me, but I am, however, quite confident that had the president instead referred to the feminine gender in his statement, the words would have been vilified as supremely sexist — and rightly so. But somehow bias is OK when men are the subject of it?
As a husband, son and brother to strong, brilliant and capable women, I agree with Obama that members of the opposite sex often make the best global leaders. Certainly many Democrats felt that way in 2008. But support for them should be based on their individual supreme qualifications, abilities and character — not just gender.
Personally, I do not care about things like race, religion, gender or sexual orientation when deciding who to vote for. They seem like irrelevant characteristics to consider when assessing quality leadership. Vision, integrity and intellect are what matter to me.
Andy Brehm, St. Paul
REST IN PEACE
My salute to a legal hero
Thanks to the Star Tribune Editorial Board for its kind tribute to John Borger in "A media champion" (editorial, Dec. 18).
I had the honor of working with John on law cases and legal seminars, usually but not always from opposing points of view. Although soft-spoken in the best sense, John was always a formidable and zealous advocate. He never once in all those years of contentious litigation uttered a word in personal anger.
Those of us in the profession privileged to know him universally regarded John as an exceptionally brilliant lawyer and a wonderful human being. He represented the legal profession at its very best.
John Borger was truly a giant.
Rest in peace, John. You left us too soon.
Elliot C. Rothenberg, Minneapolis
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